You rock? Yeah right. Or do you? Yes and here’s why.

If you have doubts about yourself – doubts about your abilities, and doubts that you’re the kind of person who can help your family connect and get along – this is for you.

the quality of all

You may not think you’re up to it, but you are. Here’s why.

You’re up to it because you rock. But the reason why you rock is probably not what you think.

You don’t rock because you rock. You rock because of who you are. Getting the who-you-are thing straight is the beginning of feeling better, and helping your family relationships.

Like me, you don’t feel like you rock. We know we come up short. We wonder if we’ve got what it takes, and the way we decide if we’ve got what it takes is we compare ourselves to others.

We compare ourselves to other people but that’s impossible because we’re incapable of seeing others the way we see ourself.

But we do it anyway!

And it’s the same for every other person. They all do it too.

It’s easy to compare our insides with everyone else’s outsides. That’s all we’ve got. It’s easy for them to do that with us, too. That’s all they’ve got.

I don’t think we should do that.

You compare yourself to others to try to nail down your identity, but there’s not much nailing in that. All that comparing changes day-to-day, which means your identity can change daily. You can go your whole life never knowing who your are.

You really only make sense when you start at the beginning, and the beginning starts with God.

1. You are a created thing

You didn’t make yourself up. You’re not your own idea.

Your maker knows how he made you. He knows your strengths, your weaknesses, your pace, your abilities, your potential, your limits. Did you ever think that maybe he did it on purpose? All of it?

He knows the level of your ability to deal with life by depending on yourself (your natural ability), and depending on him (your supernatural ability). Did you ever think that he limited your natural ability so he could make up the difference?

2. Your life is being engineered

He engineered placing you in your family, with those parents and siblings, or without any of them. And he engineered your school and friends and job and marriage, or the lack of them. He’s overseen, or permitted, all your experiences and circumstances.

He created time, and how it moves, and how much there is. Weeks, days, hours, and minutes are the same for everyone. He knows what’s available to you today for any moment, for any project, for your life. He knows every interruption and glitch.

3. You have an assignment

You may not know exactly what that assignment is. You may only know looking back later. Or you may have a vision, a calling, a sense of mission that you sense right now. We’re all different.

He knows the assignment he’s given you and what it’s for. He knows everything involved and needed to do it. He knows it’s YOUR assignment, and he gave it fully aware of you and your limitations and the time available.

And oh yeah — he loves you more than you love yourself.

Now that IS pretty rockin. But only because of the awesomeness of your creator, engineer, assigner, and lover.

And it doesn’t have anything to do with what’s on the inside or outside of anyone else.

One assignment he’s for sure given you is the role of allowing him to be a positive influence in your family through you.

The quality of your family relationships are not your responsibility. Being God’s access to your family, so that he can influence those relationships, is.

And he’s already done everything that needs to be done for you to be his access. All you need to do is believe it, and let him. You’ve got what it takes when you’ve got Him.

So, how are you feeling right now?

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You might also read Everybody carries a pee cup and This isn’t about being skinny. They might be about you. They’re definitely about me.

Hi, I’m Gary

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(Early morning, fave chair, fave pup Molly)

In 1985 my wife’s husband was 34 years old, an alcoholic who drank 3 quarts of beer a day, fell asleep on the floor every night at 7 pm, no college degreee, no training or skills, no ambition, no motivation. He was lost, apart from God, unemployed half the time, drove an old Chevy Vega with a driver side door that flew open every time you made a right turn, never seemed to get around to fixing it. He drank behind her back and lied about it and she learned she couldn’t trust him.

My wife lived with this man in a 900 sf house with lots of arguing, mostly because he was clueless on how to be married or raise kids. He had vowed to himself not to have children until he ‘figured out how to be an adult’ but he never did and here they were, two daughters 11 and 8. (If you don’t already know them, the 11 year old was Myquillyn, and the 8 year old was Emily.)

This was normal for a long time.

This was my wife’s life.

I was the husband.

That’s how our family started, and how it went for the first 12 years or so of our marriage. No one had any reason to believe anything would ever change.

It changed.

It changed not overnight but over time.

Today our marriage majors on grace and patience and caring more for the other person than for ourselves. Most of our arguments are over giving the other person their wayyes, we argue over sacrificing for each other. We’re absolute best friends, and trust dominates and creates an inviting vibe in our home. Disagreements are brief and hardly an inch deep. We share a rich connection as a family between our daughters, their husbands, and their kids. And people seem to notice.

I love it, and that may be  good place to start: how do you feel about your family?

Wish I could say “Here’s how we did it! Follow these steps!” But it’s not that kind of thing. I don’t know exactly how we got here.

It’s more of a “Here’s what we do now” kind of thing. And I CAN describe that.

It turns out, humans don’t use explanations to make change happen. They change, and then try to explain it.

~ Seth Godin

I can share the attitudes we embrace now, and what the behavior looks like that is consistent with those attitudes. I can show you how a family like ours thinks and feels, and how we mess up, and I can try to help you connect the dots of that with your family. Maybe you’ll see something that fits for a family like yours.

I believe if my family can get here with the start we had, then your family can get somewhere unimaginably good, too.

You can get there no matter where you are now. And if you’re at a good place now, well, we want it to keep getting better, right? I sure do.

I believe – and this is important – that your attitudes and expectations shape your family. Change your attitudes and expectations, and your family changes.

Positive emotions, such as compassion and patience, are teachable skills; and the way we think directly influences our experiences of the world

~ Sam Harris

I believe small steps lead to big changes over time.

I believe by perseverance the snail reached the ark.

I believe you can make hay in a season, but growing an oak takes years, and your family is an oak.

I believe everything in your world fits and is connected, even when it doesn’t make sense. You, your family, God, your hopes and dreams, all your challenges and disappointments.  The more you see how they fit together, the better your family relationships get. This place here is designed to help you and your family relationships to keep getting better over time.

And I believe one person – one human person – you – CAN make a difference.

I’ll do my best to help you make that difference.

You have hope, but hope is more than waiting and wishing. Hope involves you. You can’t wait for the right circumstances. You can’t wait for others to change and see the light. Hope means a different future – a future you can’t make happen, but a future that won’t happen without your contribution. Contributions like patience and not giving up. Refusing to keep score. Putting high expectations on yourself, not others.

This is not a parenting place, but it covers parenting.

It’s not a marriage place, but it covers marriage.

This is a place to help your whole family get along better

A place to help you make a difference and feel better about your family.

Your whole family is that group of relatives that you think most about – your spouse, kids, your brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. All those in-laws and out-laws.

Whatever relatives are your greatest source of pleasure, pain, and concern, and who you want good for, that’s your family and this place is for you.

You could probably figure most of this out on your own by trial and error like me, but why make the same mistakes and take 20 years like I did?

It will still take time, just not as much. So this is a place where you’ll get the benefit of our experience and what we’ve learned, and you can start your journey to better family relationships way farther along than we were when we started. Or if you’re already in a great place, you can keep going from good to even better. And you can start right now.

If you’re not a subscriber, scroll up on the right, or down at the bottom of this post. You’ll get a free guide to help you do a simple, fun family thing we’ve done for years, to help your family connect and get along.

As a subscriber, you get a quick email reminder whenever I write something new here. In general that might be once a week, but there are seasons of more or less.

For encouragement right now, pick something from below. Each is shorter than this article – if you read them all it might take you 15 minutes:

Stop doing this and every relationship you have will improve

You can’t change your family but you can woo their hearts

The Mr. Rogers method for beautiful calm in your family

For the estranged, hardly talking family

Why wooing the heart wins

Please read this

And oh yeah,

Four things my wife needs to remember I can’t do (and that your man can’t do either)